Monday, January 28, 2013

Spinach and Tomato Pizza


This week brings us to Spinach and Tomato Pizza. Who doesn't love a good pizza? I could honestly eat pizza every day, but I do have SOME self-control:)


I used this recipe for the dough, but of course, I did 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white flour - it gave it a nice hardy flavor and texture.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Olive Oil (give or take)
2 tsp Garlic Powder
3 Roma Tomatoes (or your favorite)
2 oz Fresh Spinach
3/4 cup Pizza Sauce (I used Prego's all natural)
8 oz Shredded cheese (Mozzarella) 

Instructions

1. Make dough according to instructions. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Press or roll dough onto desired pizza pan (use non-stick cooking spray).
3. Brush dough with Olive oil and sprinkle with the garlic powder.
4. Spread sauce evenly. 
5. Layer tomatoes and then spinach. Top with cheese.
6. Bake at 425 F for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is slightly browned.
7. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

FDA: Friend or Foe?

Did you know that the FDA currently allows several chemicals to be used in food manufacturing that are outlawed in many other countries despite knowing the potential for dangerous side effects? I recently read an article by Cristina Goyanes that confirmed what I had been hearing (see here).

For example, we all love a low-fat potato chip because it means we can eat more (or is that just me?:), but the fat substitute used is called Olestra. Here are some facts on this ingredient:
Ingredient: Olestra (aka Olean)
Found In: Fat-free potato chips
Why the U.S. Allows It: Procter & Gamble Co. took a quarter century and spent a half a billion dollars to create “light” chips that are supposedly better for you, Calton says. They may need another half a billion bucks to figure out how to deal with the embarrassing bathroom side effects (including oily anal leakage) that comes with consuming these products.
Health Hazards: “This fat substitute appears to cause a dramatic depletion of fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids, robbing us of the vital micro-nutrients," Calton says, adding that many countries, including the U.K. and Canada, have banned it.
Can you so EW!?
And for those of us who love to eat those tortialla wraps, be warned. Potassium Bromate is a common ingredient in several commonly consumed items including wraps.
Ingredient: Potassium bromate (aka brominated flour)
Found In: Rolls, wraps, flatbread, bread crumbs, and bagel chips
Why the U.S. Allows It: This flour-bulking agent helps strengthen dough, reducing the amount of time needed for baking, which results in lowered costs, Calton explains.
Health Hazards: Made with the same toxic chemical found in BVO (bromine), this additive has been associated with kidney and nervous system disorders as well as gastrointestinal discomfort. “While the FDA has not banned the use of bromated flour, they do urge bakers to voluntarily leave it out,” Calton says.

Now, I don't think the FDA is all bad.  This is just a reminder that you need to be proactive as you come to understand what you put in your body and the affects it may have.
See this article for more information and more chemicals in our food facts. Hope you found this helpful. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Healthier Lemon Cookies

I found this recipe  at eatingwell.com. Sometimes they have good recipes and sometimes the recipes I find on there should not be considered "eating well." Nevertheless, I did stumble upon this little gem. I did change one thing however. The original recipe calls for cornstarch, but I never use cornstarch, so I just added a little extra flour. Also, it calls for 1 egg white, but I just through the whole egg in there for more protein. The recipe below reflects this.







Lemon Thins

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour sifted (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided (1/2 cup and 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat 1/2 cup sugar, butter and oil in another mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add egg, lemon zest and vanilla; beat until smooth. Beat in lemon juice. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold in with a rubber spatula just until combined.
  3. Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a saucer. Coat the bottom of a wide-bottomed glass with cooking spray and dip it in the sugar. Flatten the dough with the glass into 2 1/2-inch circles, dipping the glass in the sugar each time.
  4. Bake the cookies until they are just starting to brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a flat surface (not a rack) to crisp.

Friday, January 18, 2013

These Side Dishes Could Take Center Stage

 I try to do a weekly post of a meatless main dish for various reasons. One reason being that it's a healthy and cheap alternative to a meat dish. However, I do make meat dishes several times a week. I recently made a roasted chicken. I also made two side dishes that I just had to post because they turned out so well. Don't stop reading here, but one of the sides was Brussels sprouts (gasp!). I know that generally people automatically think of Brussels sprouts as the worst tasting vegetable, but it's simply not true! Try this recipe - you'll be surprised. The other side was roasted cauliflower.  Cauliflower is a great alternative/substitute for potatoes.

I based my Brussels sprouts recipe from this one at allrecipes.com. However, I did tweak it a bit.

Honey Mustard Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

1 bag froze Brussels sprouts
2 Tbsp honey mustard (your favorite brand will do - I used Newman's Own Lite Honey Mustard)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dill weed (dry)
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Cook Brussels sprout according to bag instructions
2. Once cooked, drain excess liquid
3. Toss in honey mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper
4. Enjoy!

Just a few ingredients made these Brussels sprouts so good!





Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 500 F
2.Rinse and chop cauliflower into uniform pieces and place into a bowl
3. Melt butter and pour onto the cauliflower
4. Add garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
5. Toss/stir to coat evenly
5. Bake for 15 minutes, let cool slightly and enjoy!

* I forgot to take pictures of the cauliflower, but believe me when I say it was delicious!:)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kid's Clothes Deal

I just got a GREAT box full of goodies in the mail today! I received 11 items for under $11.00 (2 hats, a pair of sandals, 2 pairs of shorts, and 7 one-piece summer outfits)!! How? If you spend $40 you get FREE shipping. I had earned $30 in referral credits and viola! Check out ThredUP for yourself!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Excuses, Excuses

"If God loved me, He would not have let things happen to me that hurt me so much."

"If God were real, He would not let so many bad things take place in the world."

"If God was a good God, a kind God, He would make life easier for me. He would take away my pain."

Friends, I too have felt lonely, afraid, disappointed, hurt, and confused. The phrases above are just a few things that some find themselves saying when they consider God's role in life. 

However, until you actually know God, you can never fully understand Him or His role in your life. So, how do you get to know God?

Read the Bible and pray. Sounds too easy? It's not too good to be true. It's the Truth that will set you free.

Many people feel overwhelmed or lack motivation to pick up a Bible and read it. Many are afraid that they won't understand it. Some are afraid that if they do understand it, they will not like what it has to say.

I am my own worst enemy. I also find myself making excuses to get out of spending time with God. But, here's the thing. If I believe God is who He says He is, then how can I NOT spend time reading His Word and talking to Him through prayer?

The Bible teaches that God's Word contains all we need to live. 2 Peter 1:3 states
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (NIV)
God has not left us to fend for ourselves. On the contrary. He has provided all we need to make it through this life with hope and joy. This does not mean there won't be pain. This does not mean that there won't be confusion or sadness. It does mean that despite the trials of this life, nothing can defeat those who trust in Christ as their Savior. 

Take heart. Do not be afraid. God's Word is the light in this dark world. In it there is hope, truth, and grace freely given. Do not hesitate to come to Jesus. No one knows the day or hour they may perish. Don't wait. He's there for you.







Monday, January 14, 2013

Spinach Roll Ups

Meatless Monday is here again and have I got a yummy recipe for you all!

These Spinach Roll Ups are delicious and healthy. I've made these for several different people, and they've all been surprised at how tasty spinach can truly be.











Jacki's Spinach Roll Ups (makes 10)

Ingredients

5 oz fresh or frozen spinach
15 oz ricotta cheese
10 lasagna noodles
1 egg
2 tsp garlic powder
8 oz Italian cheese blend (I used shredded provolone, mozzarella, and Parmesan) 
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F 
2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions
3. Chop spinach (if desired, you can put in a food processor or blender with a little water to get it very fine)
4. In a bowl combine egg, ricotta cheese, 2 oz shredded cheese, garlic powder, and spinach 
5. Place a heaping tablespoon of the ricotta mixture onto one noodle at a time. Make sure the ricotta mixture covers the whole noodle (it does not need to be a thick layer). Roll up the noodle and place  it into a glass baking dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles.
6. Once all of the noodles have been completed, cover them with sauce and the remaining shredded cheese
7. Bake for 40-50 minutes (depending on how brown you like your cheese, you can cover the dish with foil or a cookie sheet for the first 30 minutes)
8. Eat and enjoy!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Eggplant Lasagna

I love lasagna. We eat it a lot in our house. I was getting tired of our meatless dish always being Mexican inspired, so I decided to switch things up a bit by making eggplant lasagna.

I've made eggplant parmigiana before and although it was delicious, it was entirely too much work! This recipe is very easy, takes a few ingredients, and is absolutely tasty!

 Step 1: Rinse and peel 1 large eggplant
 Step 2: Lay sliced eggplant on pans and sprinkle salt
 Step 3: Let eggplant "sweat" for 30 minutes
Step 4: Rinse excess salt and begin layering ingredients in 9x13 glass baking dish
Step 5: Top with cheese (and foil) and bake at 400 degrees F for 1 hour*


Step 6: Eat and enjoy!
*Depending on how thick you slice your eggplant, you may need to bake it for a longer period of time. If you slice your eggplant 1/4 inch or less, 1 hour is sufficient. If you slice it thicker you will need to bake it for more than 1 hour. 

Jacki's Eggplant Lasagna

You will need:
1 large eggplant
15 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz shredded Italian blend cheese (I used mozzarella, provolone, and Parmesan mixture)
Your favorite pasta sauce (I like the Newman's Own varieties)

You could also add:
Spinach
Zucchini
Squash

I usually add spinach to mine, but I didn't have any on hand this time.

Instructions:
1. Peel the eggplant and cut off the ends.
2. Slice the eggplant lengthwise in 1/4 inch thick slice
3. Lay slices on baking sheets and sprinkle generously with salt
4. Let eggplant "sweat" for 30 minutes
5. Rinse excess salt (quickly so the eggplant does not soak in too much water)
6. Layer ingredients into a glass baking dish
7. Top with shredded cheese and cover with foil (I use a cookie sheet instead of foil)
8. Bake at 400 F for 60 minutes (you can remove the foil after 45 minutes if desired)
9. Eat!

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